If you're in a fast-changing industry like food & beverage or cannabis, it’s essential to stay ahead of the curve. That’s why resources and tools for industry disruptors—like founder networks—are key to achieving sustainable growth and visibility.
Founder networks are usually made up of startup entrepreneurs and other innovative founders who are committed to helping each other succeed. Here's a closer look at the power of networking for founders and how these networks can help propel businesses forward in a profitable industry-disruptive way.
The benefits of being an industry disruptor
Just because you have a product or service that does things better or cheaper doesn't mean you're a true disruptor. If the competition continues "business as usual", you're just upping the ante without completely upending the cart.
The key to being an effective disruptor in your industry is to add more value to the market while shaking it up. For instance, cryptocurrencies are disrupting the business model for how our society creates and exchanges money. Although there are definitely bumps in the road, at some point in the not-too-distant future, there won't be any more paper money; it will all be digital.
Harvard Business School professor, Clayton Christensen (in his book, The Innovator's Dilemma) describes two different ways businesses can be disruptive:
- New market disruption. A service or product addresses a segment of the market that couldn't previously be served. It's usually a smaller market than the one being served by the bigger companies.
- Low-end disruption. The product or service is cheaper or more convenient than any alternative already available (eg, cryptocurrencies; the Uber app).
Christensen wrote that it doesn't matter in which industry your business operates; your company leaders must know how and when to abandon "traditional" business practices, or you will get pushed aside. When a more nimble company begins to nudge itself into the bottom of the market, you can't continue with what he called "sustaining innovations," which are simply making the current technology bigger, better, or faster.
Somewhere along the line, an established company will inevitably be faced with a more nimble, smaller company that is creating a market or serving a smaller niche of the market with true disruptive innovation. The established company will be caught flat-footed when the new company develops new values, resources, and/or processes to serve that niche.
According to Christensen, big companies most often have plenty of resources, but typically fail to adapt their values and processes. That means they don't react well to innovation and failure, which prevents them from capitalizing on opportunities that may have a smaller margin.
Do you see how founders of nimble companies can benefit by operating in smaller niches with innovative technology? It's a foot-in-the-door to a much larger market.
What is a Founder Network?
A founder network is an exclusive group of people who work together to share resources and develop new ideas, products or services. These private networks are often made up of entrepreneurs, business professionals, venture capitalists, and other thought leaders in various industries.
The goal of these networks is to provide members with access to information, support and resources you wouldn't otherwise be able to get on your own. By leveraging each other’s expertise and connections, members are better able to identify opportunities for industry disruption and capitalize on them quickly.
Founder networks provide support from like-minded business and thought leaders who understand the unique challenges that come with launching a disruptive business venture.
By joining these networks, you can collaborate on projects with other innovative founders, share best practices for marketing and operations management, and even get and share advice with experienced mentors within the group. This type of collaboration can prove invaluable when it comes time to launch your product or service.
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How can founder networks help your business?
In today's competitive landscape, access to the right resources is essential for success. As a member of one or more founder networks you will be able to access a broad range of resources, including industry experts, key influencers, and potential investors. With these resources at your disposal, you can also take advantage of new business opportunities and gain valuable insights into the industry.
By leveraging the collective knowledge within a founder network, you can explore different directions in terms of expanding your products or services, as well as identify weaknesses in existing strategies. Most importantly, these resources give you the opportunity to build growth strategies around identifying and capitalizing on market trends and changes in consumer behavior, before your competitors get there.
These networks also provide access to capital from investors as well as mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs who have been in similar situations before. This knowledge can be incredibly helpful for developing new products or services that will make your company stand out from the competition.
Thanks to membership in a founder network, one of the greatest benefits you can realize is that it is an incredibly fertile environment for collaboration. As members of the network share their insights and experiences, you develop strong relationships with each other. These relationships often lead to partnerships, investments, or joint ventures.
In addition, many startup founder networks provide members with support in the form of online communities and forums where you can share ideas and gain valuable feedback from your peers. This type of collaboration is incredibly beneficial when it comes time to launch a new product or service, because you can lean on the collective experience of your member colleagues.
Leverage your founder network
Networking is essential for any business, but especially if you are in an emerging or disruptive industry. Not only do you get access to other innovative founders, but effective networking will also connect you with potential customers, partners, and investors.
In order to make the most of networking opportunities, be proactive. Be willing to reach out a bit unconventionally if you need to, so you can interact with influential members of the industry on a regular basis.
Excellent ways to increase your visibility and connection opportunities include:
- attending conferences
- joining relevant discussion forums
- cold-calling potential partners
Just remember that building quality relationships takes time—so don’t expect to see the benefits of these connections immediately.
Founder networks are an invaluable resource for any business looking to gain traction in its sector quickly while minimizing risk along the way. By leveraging each other's expertise and connections within a close-knit group setting, members are able to identify opportunities for disruption more easily than if they were on their own.
Moreover, these networks also provide businesses with access to capital from investors as well as mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs which can be incredibly helpful for developing new products or services that will make your company stand out from the competition and increase your market share. So if you're looking for ways to increase your business's visibility and grow faster than ever before, joining a founder network might just be the answer you've been searching for.